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The Future of Live Brand Experiences

More than twenty months have passed since many event agencies made the now fabled ‘pivot’ from live events to virtual event solutions, and countless discussions have taken place and differing opinions offered as to whether virtual events are here to stay, or if the hybrid set up will become the norm. At Yellow Fish, we embraced the pivot and worked quickly to find solutions for our clients. 

We were midway through planning a large international conference in New York when the pandemic reared its head, yet by March 2020 our in-house creative studio and web programmers were already deep in the development stage of our very own virtual event solution in the form of a bespoke event platform. Having created and managed digital apps and incentive campaigns for years, we had a bit of a head start, but the evolution of the Yellow Fish platform has seen us able to host virtual events as diverse as a global pharmaceutical conference and scientific exchange, virtual university graduation, internal kick-off conferences and Christmas team building activities. 

We asked the Yellow Fish event agency team for their top tips and takeaways when it comes to corporate event management of virtual and hybrid events: 

Sophie Talbot, Account Director 

Virtual events are here to stay, at some level or another, so the demand for virtual event solutions is still critical. We are supporting clients to make virtual and hybrid events part of their corporate event strategy to keep their employees safe, reduce travel, and engage bigger audiences. In-person physical interaction is challenging to replicate online, but digital experiences bring so many benefits, including reach, measurable metrics, and sustainability and used in conjunction with a multi-channel campaign, can be just as effective and memorable as a live event.   

Jim Harrison, Web Developer 

Engage everyone equally and consider all audiences in your decision making for your digital event. Experience is everything, and virtual audiences should never be passive viewers in virtual event solutions. A virtual or hybrid audience should have the same value as an in-person attendee and using shared technology and shared experiences (such as polling and live Q&A) will help unite your audience within a digital event format. At the very beginning of your planning process, it’s essential to map the delegate journey and keep that front of mind when you plan the user experience and technical aspects. We need to remember that virtual audiences now have high expectations and must be actively engaged to feel part of the overall experience. 

Kirsty Boyle, Producer 

Attention spans are considerably shorter for virtual and hybrid events than they are for live sessions. It’s estimated virtual audiences lose interest somewhere between 90 and 120 minutes of a live broadcast. Therefore, the content needs to be even more concise and engaging, with easy to navigate tools to help the audience interact with the sessions and speakers. 

By creating a compelling experience for all audiences and providing attendees with control over their digital event experience, including where, when and what kind of content with which to engage, you are creating a much more creative and engaging experience for the virtual viewer. 

Rachel Douglass, Account Director 

As an event management agency we know budgets and resources should be appropriate for the event. Whilst many have enjoyed costs savings from virtual events, the same cannot be said for a hybrid offering. Essentially, your hybrid event is two events in one, and budgets reflect that with line items for live, virtual, and combined.  

Partnering with the right event management service and supplier is paramount and the right technology is never a wasted investment. Time is also a precious resource – any event which incorporates digital elements will need a greater time investment for more pre-planning and rehearsals. We also advise investing in a coach for speakers who aren’t used to presenting to a virtual audience. People are busier than ever and will want to come away feeling their time at an event was well spent. Driving value and return on their time investment for the audience is critical to achieving engagement.  

Laura Pace, Managing Director 

With multiple options for how an event is delivered, agencies should take the opportunity to ask how the event fits in with a client’s goals and event strategy. What is the best format for this event? How can we achieve the best ROI for the client? And how can this be measured?  

By starting with the overall objectives of the campaign we plan which channel or channels are the right ones to engage with your audience. Can we utilise content created from an event across other channels to really land a message? In what format are your target market most likely to engage with the message or content?  

Like any form of communication by getting to the root of what drives and engages your audience we ensure we create an event plan that lands in the right way and at the right time with your audience.  

“It was a pleasure to work with Yellow Fish team on our first ever virtual Graduation. With so much uncertainty around live, fully virtual or hybrid the team worked holistically with us to translate a complex brief into a concept and event plan that would really resonate with the audience. By focusing on creating a compelling experience, we ensured that a global audience would be engaged and feel part of the event, wherever they were tuning in from.

Sophie, Head of Events, UAL

In summary, the future of events is bright! Formats will continue to evolve with new technology and will continue to be shaped by the learnings of the past couple of years. Events will be delivered as a combination of virtual, hybrid and in-person brand experiences, creating side by side digital and live experiences that bring the same values and content messaging to life. 

Thinking about a virtual event solution, hybrid, or live event? Get in touch to find out how we can help create your stand-out brand experience.  

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